“You sure you don’t wanna say bye to your mom before you go?” Al grabbed my arm before I could get out of the car. “You’re moving to New York. You don’t know when you’ll see her again.” I pulled out of her grasp and stepped into the airport parking garage.
“I’m sure. Besides, she’s on a date with Mack right now. She doesn’t want to say goodbye, anyway.” I popped open my trunk and swung my book bag onto my back. “You know how my mom is. She hates the finality of things, and this is the worst one for her, so she’s using Mack to distract herself. I just never thought I would be the one she ignores.”
“Yeah, I do know her.” Albie stepped out of the car with a folder clutched to her chest. “I know that you’ve been her rock ever since I’ve known you both. I know she’s gonna be completely lost without you, and she probably knows that too.” She pulled my duffel back onto her shoulder and turned to me. “By not saying goodbye she’s holding on to you for as long as she can. She is gonna miss you, hell, I’m gonna miss you like crazy. But Jacks, I get it. She’s doing it for you.” Al pushed the strap farther up her arm and closed the trunk. She hugged the folder closer to her chest.
“How did you get so smart, Yoda.”
“Ah, you know, Dr. Phil, Oprah, and The Bachelor.” We burst out laughing and Al slapped me with the folder. “Here. I want you to take this with you.” I took the blue folder from her.
“What is it?” I pulled open the flap and gawked at the contents. “Albie, I can’t believe you kept these. I thought this was a joke.” I pulled out the college brochures for Yale, Harvard, and Brown.
“I know we joked about these, but you would be our valedictorian if you graduated here. You are brilliant, and you can get into any school you want, you just have to try. You always told me that Yale would be your dream school, so promise me you’ll apply. Promise you’ll try to get in.”
I pulled Albie into my arms, “I promise.” She wrapped her arms tightly around me and we stood in the middle of the garage holding each other up.
Finally, after what seemed like hours but was only minutes, Al pulled away. “Girl, you’re gonna be late to your plane if you don’t get going.” She handed me my duffel and I stuffed the folder inside. “You sure you don’t want me to walk in with you?”
“No. I don’t want Jared to find something else to complain about.” I handed her my keys, “Can you get my car back to my mom for me? And can you please, please make sure she takes care of herself.”
“You know I will.” I pulled her into my arms again.
“I’m going to miss you, Al.”
“I’ll miss you too, Jacks.” She pulled away and took my hand in hers. “You still my best friend, babe.”
“And you still my boo.”